The rents are going up $991.51 for all 42 apartments, which are rent controlled and currently priced from $900 to $1400.
UIP purchased the building for $6 million in May and according to the text of the lawsuit, it's intended to be a temporary increase to make capital improvements.
The resident who emailed me says he believes it's meant to clear the building of all tenants so UIP can build condos.
In what would appear to be an attempt to make an end run around various DC laws regarding tenants rights, UIP justifies this "temporary" rent increase in the name of making improvements to the property. Clearly, this doubling of the rents of most tenants would be a defacto eviction for most of the tenants of this section 8 housing.The lawsuit says that under a 1985 rental law, a real estate firm may petition DC Government's Office of Administrative Hearings for a temporary rent increase to make improvements. The improvements are replacing all windows and kitchen and bathroom appliances, installing a new elevator, security cameras and emergency generator and improvements to the lobby, hallways, water system and other repairs. The lawsuit states that the court should find that those improvements are good for the tenants.
They all seem like a good thing, except that this would effectively double rent for most people in the building. The resident who emailed me says is a Section 8, rent controlled building. I can't imagine anyone in any kind of housing who could afford an almost $1000 increase of rent, however temporarily. I also can't imagine this is what the law was intended to do. Unfortunately I can't find the 1985 law online, and the DC Code website doesn't seem to include that (unless I missed it.)
The tenants were notified on Sept. 15th to appear in court Oct. 24. The reader notes this means that many of the working tenants will have to take off work to fight the suit. He said there is a tenant association but he's not sure about legal representation.
I've contacted UIP asking for comment but have not yet received any.
Below is his email and after that the lawsuit and the document about the rent increases.
I thought that this info would be of interest to you and your readers. UIP property mgt Inc. the new owner of 3501 13th St NW, which bought the building in June for $6 million, promptly filed civil suit in July to increase the rents of every tenant in the building for $991.55 (I have attached PDFs of some of the court docs).UPDATE: Here's the city website on on capital improvements.
In what would appear to be an attempt to make an end run around various DC laws regarding tenants rights, UIP justifies this "temporary" rent increase in the name of making improvements to the property. Clearly, this doubling of the rents of most tenants would be a defacto eviction for most of the tenants of this section 8 housing.
Not withstanding the constraints of laws on the books designed to protect tenants from this sort of economic eviction, a quick look at UIP's costs associated with the building belies their need (if their justifications were to be believed) to make the tenants pay for the cost of capital improvements to their new investment.
Back of the napkin:
Cost of building: $6000000
30yr note @ 4%: ~$26,000/mo
Current gross rents: $44,791.
The tenants (of which I am one) were notified on the 15th of September by the DC Office of Administrative Hearings that they were required to appear in court on Oct 24 at the Office of Administrative Hearings or risk losing the case.
Now, UIP may not succeed in this opening gambit in it's attempt to force the people who live at 3501 13th from their homes. However, the crass disrespect of UIP towards the people who live at 3501 13th is demonstrated by the fact that they filed a suit that will require working people to take a day off and go to court to head off a cynical ploy by their landlord to evict them by other means.
UPDATE 2: This is technically a "capital improvement plan petition," or something like that, not a lawsuit.